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Mayor’s race could draw high turnout to primaries

Today marks one of the final chapters in the “M artini E ra.”

Las Vegas voters head to the polls to elect a new mayor, three councilmembers and three judges in the municipal primary election.

Of the 606,000 residents throughout the city, about 222,000 of them are active registered voters, according to the City Clerk’s office.

This number has increased in recent years.

The clerk’s office was scheduled to open at 6:30 a.m. today — the same time as the county’s election offices — for voters who might have questions about where and how to vote valleywide.

The polls are scheduled to be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. There are about 80 voting locations in the city.

Incumbent Mayor Oscar Goodman, who has served the city for 12 years, will retire his golden gavel because of term limits.

There are 18 candidates on the ballot vying for the mayoral seat and a chance to fill his shoes.

“I think there will be a lot of interest to see who wins the mayoral race,” said Beverly K. Bridges , city clerk. “It’s very competitive.”

The last mayoral race was in 2007, when 32,500 of the city’s then-214,000 registered voters cast their ballots. Voter turnout was 15 percent for the entire election, with almost 7 percent coming out on election day and about 6 percent participating in early voting, according to the city’s archived election reports.

Goodman won in a landslide election that year with 84 percent of the vote. There were only six candidates running for the office then, none of whom are on the ballot for this election.

If one candidate receives more than a majority of votes cast in that election, he will be declared the winner (as was Goodman’s case) and there will be no general election. If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the primary, then the names of the two candidates with the highest number of votes will be placed on the ballot for the general election, according to the city’s website.

Political analysts said voter turnout for primary elections, specifically municipal elections, is typically low. Bridges said that’s what makes it so important to get voters to the polls.

“Someone can win with 50 percent plus one vote,” she said. “It’s very important to vote in our primaries because of that one fact. People can win their seats in the primary. A lot of the time, voters will wait for the general.”

Bridges admits that for this election, voter turnout will be difficult to predict.

“We’ve had as low as 6 to 7 percent and as high as 25 percent (turnout),” she said. “Mayor races are typically higher voter turnout than non-mayor races.”

Also on the ballot are City Council Wards 1, 3 and 5 — all four-year terms — and Municipal Judge departments 2, 3 and 5 — all six-year terms.

The mayor serves a four-year term and earns an annual salary of $65,247. Councilmembers also serve a four-year term but earn a $49,665 annual salary. Municipal judges serve a six-year term and earn a $149,356 yearly salary.

Candidates in all races were required to file campaign contribution and expense reports March 29, which covers transactions from Jan. 1 to March 24. The next report is scheduled to be filed May 31.

The biggest hurdle is making sure voters show up to the correct polling places.

“If there are changes to residency, voters can make a change of address at that time,” said Bridges. “If you don’t know where your polling place is you can call our office or the Clark County Election Department.”

The general election is scheduled for June 7.

To reach the City Clerk’s office, call 229-6311. For the Clark County Election Department, call 455-2784.

Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at kjourdan@viewnews.com or 383-0492.

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